Emergency services are working to find the last of four miners trapped in a flooded Swansea Vallley coal mine. The multi-agency rescue operation has been underway since yesterday at the Gleision Colliery in South Wales after four men were caught deep underground.
South Wales Police confirmed that the rescue team had found three of the missing men during the course of the day, the search continues for one more man still trapped 90m (295ft) below in the flooded mine.
Supt Phil Davies said the families were in a state of extreme grief he added: “All our sympathy goes out to the families in what is an incredibly difficult situation. I will reiterate the fact that this is still an ongoing search and rescue operation and all emergency services are fully committed to getting these miners out as soon as possible.”
One miner was located at the bottom of the main shaft at Cilybebyll in the early hours. The second body was found in a different part of the mine at lunchtime, believed to be close to where he was working. Police confirmed at about 3pm that a third body had been found.
Two other miners escaped unaided before emergency services arrived and a third was airlifted to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, but is not believed to be as seriously ill as previously thought.
Police named the missing miners as; Charles Breslin, 62; David Powell, 50; Garry Jenkins, 39; and Phillip Hill, 45.
A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the national independent health and safety watchdog added: “HSE has inspectors on site. The police have primacy in this incident.”
HSE figures from May 2011 show that in the last five years, there have been 20 mine-related fatalies in Britain. None of these were related to an inrush of water.